Rosen­stein ex­pected to leave Jus­tice Dept.

De­par­ture will cre­ate un­cer­tainty about the over­sight of Mueller’s Rus­sia probe

StarMetro Edmonton - - BIG OPINIONS - Eric Tucker and Michael Bal­samo

WASH­ING­TON—Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein, the most vis­i­ble Jus­tice De­part­ment pro­tec­tor of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion and a fre­quent tar­get of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s wrath, is ex­pected to leave his po­si­tion soon af­ter Trump’s nom­i­nee for at­tor­ney gen­eral is con­firmed.

The de­par­ture cre­ates un­cer­tainty about the over­sight of Mueller’s team as it en­ters what may be its fi­nal months of work. But the at­tor­ney gen­eral nom­i­nee, Wil­liam Barr, moved quickly Wed­nes­day to quell con­cerns that his ar­rival could en­dan­ger the probe, telling law­mak­ers dur­ing Capi­tol Hill vis­its ahead of his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing that he has a high opin­ion of Mueller.

“He had ab­so­lutely no in­di­ca­tion he was go­ing to tell Bob Mueller what to do or how to do it,” said Re­pub­li­can Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, the in­com­ing chair of the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, which will ques­tion Barr next Tues­day.

If con­firmed by the Re­pub­li­can-led Se­nate, Barr could be in place at the Jus­tice De­part­ment by Fe­bru­ary. Rosen­stein is ex­pected to leave his po­si­tion soon af­ter that, though he is not be­ing forced out, said a per­son fa­mil­iar with the plans who was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss them on the record.

The de­par­ture is not sur­pris­ing given that Rosen­stein has been deputy for al­most two years. It is com­mon for new at­tor­neys gen­eral to have their own deputies and Barr has told peo­ple close to him that he wanted his own No. 2.

It was un­clear who might re­place Rosen­stein, though It’s un­clear who will re­place Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein.

Barr has some ideas for a se­lec­tion, Gra­ham said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing. The deputy po­si­tion re­quires Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

Rosen­stein’s de­par­ture is note­wor­thy given his ap­point­ment of Mueller and close su­per­vi­sion of his work. He’s also en­dured a ten­u­ous re­la­tion­ship with Trump, who has re­peat­edly de­cried Rosen­stein’s de­ci­sion to ap­point Mueller, and with con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans who ac­cused him of with­hold­ing doc­u­ments from them and not in­ves­ti­gat­ing ag­gres­sively enough what they con­tend was po­lit­i­cal bias within the FBI.

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